If you’ve spent any time on social media over the last several days, you’ve probably seen this viral image. It was first posted on Instagram by comedian Tessa Coates, who can be seen in a bridal shop standing in front of two mirrors. In the image, Coates is seemingly holding three different poses at the same time.

While Coates suggested that this is a “glitch in the matrix,” the actual situation isn’t that exciting.

In the image, you can see that Coates’ hands are down at her side in one mirror and folded across her stomach in one mirror. In the foreground, one hand is folded and the other hand is down at her side.

There’s been a lot of speculation as to how this happened. Some people claim it’s a computational photography quirk, while others say it’s a Live Photos glitch. Others say it’s nothing but a veiled (ha) attempt at going viral and the image is fake. Well, we now have an answer to this saga. Hopefully.

Faruk from the excellent iPhonedo YouTube channel posted an explanation on Threads on Friday night. Faruk examined the image’s metadata and found that it was taken – likely by mistake – with the panoramic feature on Coates’ iPhone 12.

In her original Instagram post, Coates says that this is a “real photo, not photoshopped, not a pano, not a Live Photo.” Coates is correct that it’s not technically a panoramic image – but it was still taken with the panoramic mode setting on her iPhone 12.

Here’s Faruk’s explanation:

To a normal eye, this may look quite normal, but to me this resolution does not look ok because that’s not the resolution iPhone 12 takes a photo in. iPhone 12’s Main camera takes a photo with 4516 by 3874, but her photo is 3028 by 3948. Which is not possible unless you’re taking a photo in the panorama mode.

What happened is her arms are down and she was moving her arm. Maybe she moved the right arm up first and then the left arm up later. Meanwhile, the camera was in panorama mode and it stitched all these together.

The key here is that the image didn’t come out wide enough to actually get designated as a panorama by iOS. This is why there’s not an icon on the image to indicate it’s a panorama. Essentially, it was a failed panorama by whoever took the picture for Coates.

Check out Faruk’s full video on Threads.

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